Top Tips for Managing on a Budget...
Richard Branson has gone on record as saying it is not your customers who are most important to your business, but your staff. If you look after your staff well, they will look after your customers.
We have doubtless all been customers of shops, suppliers or service providers who are clearly not looked after well by their employers, as they have not passed on an acceptable level of ‘looking after’ to us, the customer. Supermarket chains, utility companies, banks, public services to name but a few, have all had their share of newspaper coverage for poor treatment of their customers.
So how do we go about looking after our employees? Well one thing is certain, whatever the size of your organisation, the chances are you cannot do it alone; you will need to rely on the skills, knowledge and attitude of others to support you. These others will be the lead technicians, managers and supervisors as your organisation grows and your size warrants such a structure.
‘But we don’t have the time or budget for management development’, I hear you cry. This is a common theme in the early days of an organisation’s life, and one we hear particularly in the biotech sector. Your size and financial structure does not allow for managers who just ‘manage’ or supervisors who just ‘supervise’. Everyone in the organisation is hands-on and operational.
The following are some top tips for developing your managers (or indeed aspiring managers) on the job and for ‘free’:
1. Lunch and Learn
Also called ‘brown bag lunches’ in the US, these can be a great opportunity for someone within the organisation to present a particular aspect of their work to their colleagues right across the company. The topic could be anything from a technical innovation, a bugbear faced by the team or a particularly challenging customer issue, for example. The idea is that anyone who wants to learn, brings their lunch (brown bag not compulsory) or in the case of my last employer, doughnuts can be provided as an incentive to attend – and listens to the presentation.
What about incorporating lunch and learn presentations into the objectives of your aspiring managers as a personal development opportunity.
Once these have become instilled as a regular feature, perhaps your customers, suppliers or neighbours on your business park could be persuaded to join in.
2. Tighten up your Team Meetings
If you don’t already have regular team meetings, start them, to ensure that everyone involved in the project or the department is kept up to speed with information and decisions. If you already hold them, consider tweaking the agenda to include one or more of the following:
Short updates from everyone in the team, including those who would prefer not to speak up
A regular ‘what have you learnt this week’ slot
A ‘Hyde Park Corner slot – where one team member takes the stand for five minutes (timed) and can talk about any topic within certain parameters. This could be something he/she has learnt outside the day-to-day job, feedback from a customer, a plea to colleagues to start/stop something, or a five-minute teaching slot, for example.
Look out for further top tips for your managers (present and future).
In the meantime, if you’re booked in to attend the BioTrinity event in London on 25-27 April 2016 why not visit us at Stand 30 or better still, come along to our workshop on 27 April at 13.35 entitled ‘At what point does developing your people become critical to your business?’
We look forward to welcoming you there, and sharing further top tips with you.